On-board Diary: On the way to Baleares, mountains in the Ibiza canal

Author: Silvia García
Date: July 24, 2010



Today we head along the path to two underwater mountains located in the Ibiza canal between Valencia and the Balearic archipelago. This is a practically unknown zone, as nothing more than its geologic features are known. As they do note even have registered names, we called them the Nao Mound, located in front of Cabo de Nao, and Morron de Formentera, located about 20 min from this island.

Nao Mound: The peak of this elevation is at some 400 m from the surface. We fell upon a mud cliff that we surveyed going from greater to lesser depths. Closer to the peak, volcanic rocks started appearing, and upon them are small corals, sponges, gorgonias, such as Callogorgia verticilata, and another yellow one that we still cannot identify, apart from clock fish, prawn, shrimp and other medium-depth fish species.

Morron de Formentera: We started the dive in an endless field of dead coral, which lead us to the reef from where all of these dead branches must have fallen off. Luckily, we found some individual corals that were still alive, and were able to identify them as Dendrophyllia cornigera, a yellow tree coral, which is one of the most important species making up deep-water coral reefs. We do not know the causes of the disappearance of this reef, as with what is happening in all of the world's seas, but fishing lines, climatic change and contamination are all possible causes to be kept in mind in the Mediterranean.